Monday, November 30, 2009

An Award-Winning "Henhouse Of The Future"

ChickensChicken is a consumer favorite all over the world, but many people aren't happy with the way chicken arrives at their table - both from a humanitarian and an environmental point of view.

The new European Union (EU) regulations, which cover all fowl that are raised for food - and which Israel is planning to adopt as well - will go into effect in 2012. They will address concerns that most consumers, including those who don't consider themselves animal rights activists, have for the humane treatment of animals.

Henhouse cages will provide at least 116.25 square inches of space per bird (nearly double the current standard) and will allow enough space for birds to move around freely, with access to fresh air and natural light, enabling them to flap their wings, etc. Cages will be equipped with natural or artificial grass or sand, imitating the birds' natural environment, and each cage will even be equipped with soft material - a sort of 'mattress' or 'pillow' - for the birds to rest on.

To comply with the new regulations, farmers in the EU and in countries like Israel that sell poultry products in Europe will have to upgrade their henhouses. Israel's Agrotop is poised to help, with its award-winning "henhouse of the future." For Agrotop, "award-winning" isn't just corporate marketing fluff. The company really did win an award from the Ministry of Agriculture this year for its new industrial chicken coop design, which not only meets the new EU standards, but also is completely "green".

The coops are designed to physically match their surroundings, so that the natural beauty of the area where they are built will not be compromised. The coop is raised off the ground, ensuring that it remains a closed system that does not affect the surrounding environment - not even the grass or topsoil on which it stands.

The coops are built with recycled material wherever possible. Plus, they recycle the water, process the chicken waste to manufacture biofuels, and use wind and solar power to generate electricity.

Source: Israel21c

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Hungry Cats in Tel Aviv!

Girl holding a catThe SOS Pet Association announced today that they would be launching a campaign to feed stray cats in Tel Aviv. Starting Monday, 350 feeding bowls will be distributed throughout the city to feed the hungry felines!

Initially, SOS Pet Association volunteers will be filling the bowls but the hope is that city residents will soon take over and fill the feeding bowls themselves.

Another goal of this campaign is to spay the cats so they won't continue to reproduce.

It's great to see Israelis taking the initiative to address a very important problem that seems to be happening everywhere.

Read the entire article here.

Off to feed my own felines, till next time!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

Waste Treatment PlantLike death and taxes, garbage is inevitable. And with environmental concerns growing, cities across the globe are searching for smarter ways to dispose of their trash.

Sydney and Santa Barbara are among the cities that are now working with Arrow Ecology, an Israeli company whose revolutionary, ecologically sensible method sorts huge volumes of solid waste, salvages recyclables, and turns the rest into "green" biogas and rich agricultural compost.
The ArrowBio patented system takes trash directly from collection trucks and separates organic and inorganic materials through gravitational settling, screening, and hydro-mechanical shredding.

The process is similar to panning for gold. The water used by ArrowBio comes from the moisture in the trash. Any excess water is discharged into the public sewage system or biological treatment plant. Similarly, a small fraction of the resulting methane biogas powers the process itself and the rest is made available for municipal energy needs.

The system can handle any proportion of organic-to-inorganic waste. In the Middle East and Asia, biodegradable organic matter may comprise up to 90 percent of the waste stream, while European and North American municipal solid waste generally contains less than 50 percent organics. The flexibility of the system is the key to its success in locales as diverse as California, Australia, Greece, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Israel.

The facility in Sydney, for example, was installed in July 2008 and treats 270 tons of municipal solid waste every day - diverting the equivalent of 9,000 garbage trucks per year from landfills, and generating greenhouse gas savings equivalent to taking about 8,000 cars off the road. An ArrowBio plant that has been operational at the Hiriya landfill site since December 2003 serves the Tel Aviv area, and processes up to 150 tons of garbage a day.

Source: Israel21c

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bye Bye, Bacteria And Fungi!

BiofilmYissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, introduced a novel method for preventing and affecting biofilm of bacteria and fungi at the WATEC Conference, held in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 17-19, 2009. The invention, developed jointly by the Hadassah Medical Organization and Hebrew University of Jerusalem (the Faculty of Dental Medicine and the Institute of Drug Research), utilizes novel heterocyclic compounds that disrupt cell-cell communication, thereby interfering with the formation of biofilms. Unlike the use of antibiotics which often induce formation of resistant strains, the compounds do not need to kill the microorganisms that cause the biofilms.

The novel compounds will be used as a coating on pipes, filters, membranes, air conditioning ducts and other surfaces in contact with water prone to formation of biofilms. The coating is environmentally friendly and effective against both fungal and bacterial biofilms.

Biofilm-related problems cost industry tens of billions of dollars annually by corroding pipes, reducing heat transfer or hydraulic pressure in industrial cooling systems, plugging water injection jets, and clogging water filter and pipes. The novel invention can be used for industrial water treatment, prevention of biofilm formation on filtration membranes, paints and coatings, irrigation pipelines and swimming pools. It can be used for household cleaning, and more. It will also lower costs of desalination and water recycling processes by reducing energy consumption due to corroded or clogged pipes.

About Yissum

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $1.2 Billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies in the world, Yissum has registered over 6,100 patents covering 1,750 inventions; has licensed out 480 technologies and has spun-off 65 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Teva, Intel, IBM, Phillips, Sygenta, Vilmorin, Monsanto and many more. For further information please visit

Source: Business Wire

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tel Aviv Municipality Bans Horse-Drawn Carts

Horse, cart and a heavy load in YaffoCHAI (Live) and HaKol Chai (They All Live) animal rights groups’ campaign to ban cart horses in Tel Aviv, and eventually around the country, achieved its first goal with the banning of horse-drawn carts from Tel Aviv streets. For over a decade, CHAI and its sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai, pressured the Tel Aviv municipality to regulate, and later to ban, the practice of horses pulling heavily-laden carts through city streets. These animals are often starved, beaten, made to work in the hot sun without water, and not provided with veterinary care. CHAI was the first organization to raise this issue and the first to undertake a campaign to ban horse-drawn carts.

CHAI first presented its concerns to city officials in 1999. When they were rebuffed, CHAI repeatedly exposed incidents of horse abuse in Jaffa, the old part of Tel Aviv, and rescued and rehabilitated abused horses. In 2005, Hakol Chai’s attorney wrote letters to the Ministry of Transportation, the Tel Aviv Mayor, and other mayors around the country to raise awareness of the issue and to call for a ban on the practice. Hakol Chai also organized an international letter writing campaign to government officials. Hakol Chai’s formal written proposal to the City Council resulted in the Council holding a special meeting to discuss the issue. The municipal veterinarian at last sided with Hakol Chai in saying only a ban, not regulations, would work because the city lacks the funds to inspect horses and has no facility to house them when they are removed from their abusers. The Mayor, pressured by cart owners, continued to decline to impose a ban. In 2009, 350 supporters of Hakol Chai’s campaign crowded into a Tel Aviv venue featuring a protest concert at which popular Israeli singers volunteered to perform. This event was a part of an international coalition of organizations throughout the world called Horses Without Carriages International that seeks to end horse-drawn carts and carriages. At long last, Tel Aviv’s Mayor issued a ban. Hakol Chai is planning to continue to pressure mayors of other cities around the country into doing the same.

Source: CHAI / Hakol Chai press release

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Going Down The Drain

WastewaterSewage - human, agricultural and industrial - is an enormous untapped energy source. It represents some of the world's finest biological matter, and in America, as elsewhere, it is literally going down the drain.

Recognizing sewage as a resource and alternative source of energy, Israeli company Applied CleanTech is ready to commercialize its mechanical and chemical solution that separates sewage into raw materials like cellulose and oil. The company further aims to collect every bit of solid waste that ends up at the water treatment plant, and recycle it into valuable raw materials.

Applied CleanTech's sewage recycling system reduces a sewage treatment plant's solid waste output by about 60 percent. This means the company can increase treatment plant capacity so that towns and cities can handle population growth without building new plants.

Doing the math, about 40 to 50 percent of the solids in the sewage system are made from cellulose fibers. Taking into account that humans don't digest cellulose, and that numbers can change depending on whether the plant serves Manhattan or an industrial zone, about 10 to 15% of these cellulose fibers in sewage come from our excrement, while the rest - about 85% - come from toilet paper and other cloth fibers that are flushed away. Cellulose is a raw material that can undergo a chemical process to become a valuable biofuel known as ethanol.

Applied CleanTech also collects oil from water. The oil in the water poses a huge problem for farmers using recycled gray water for irrigation because it creates hydrophobic soil, which doesn't absorb water well.

The main issue with the wastewater industry is dealing with the formation of sludge. Sludge is costly to deal with and it limits the capacity of a treatment plant. The cellulose and the oil are the hard-to-digest materials in the treatment plant digesters. When they are extracted, the wastewater treatment becomes more efficient. This also means that carbon credits can be generated.

Applied CleanTech is based in Hadera, not far from Haifa, and employs a staff of six.

Source: Israel21c

Friday, November 13, 2009

Israel is No. 5 on Top 10 Cleantech List

CleantechIsrael is No. 5 on the top 10 list of cleantech countries of 2009 compiled by Sustainable World Capital's Shawn Lesser. His ranking is based on government initiatives and programs, large investment mandates, entrepreneurial innovation as well as cultural and social drivers:

1. Denmark
2. Germany
3. Sweden
4. The United Kingdom
5. Israel
6. Switzerland
7. The United States
8. United Arab Emirates
9. China
10. Canada

Israel, the 'Silicon Valley' of water technology, is fast becoming the cleantech incubator to the world (see Israel to export $2.5B in water technologies by 2011). Israel recycles 75 percent of its wastewater, invented drip irrigation, and is home to the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination plant (see Israel plans largest desal plant in $513M deal). Israel certainly isn't the world's biggest cleantech market, but it might just be one of the world's most important centers of cleantech innovation and R&D, with innovative companies such as CellEra, Aqwise, and Emefcy. Better Place is also making Israel the first test-market for a nationwide electric vehicle recharge network (see Electric cars are coming to Israel). Leading Israeli VCs include Israel Cleantech, Aqua Argo Fund and Terra Ventures.

Source: Cleantech Group LLC